1) Can you pinpoint the exact moment you knew you wanted to get into architecture?
When I was young, I never imagined myself as an architect. It was not until my early 20’s, when I was attending art school in San Francisco, that I found myself needing a more defined college path with a career in mind. So I took a chance – I dropped out of art school and enrolled in an introductory summer architecture studio at Arizona State University. Six months later I was accepted into the Arizona State School of Architecture. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
2) Favorite project you have worked on BCA?
There are many projects I have enjoyed working on at BCA, but the project that has had the most impact on my growth as an architect is the new Elementary School in Mendota, CA. This is the first project I have worked on in its entirety, from the original Master Plan conception to completion of the school. The design of this project represents BCA’s forward thinking as a firm and is our team’s design response to the fundamental shifts we are seeing in education. I’m very excited that the school will be open to students this August.
The design of the school’s classroom wings is structurally similar to that of a barn, which in turn is a reflection of the community’s agricultural roots. Part of BCA’s challenge was to create a campus that would meet the community goals and the goals of 21st century education. A large part of the central courtyard is dedicated to an outdoor garden which will be integrated into the curriculum. Students will learn how to grow their own food as part of the sustainable education program.
3) If you weren’t in architecture, what would you be doing?
I would probably be living near a reef, swimming in the 78-degree ocean, and running a small dive shop. I have been scuba diving since I was 12, and it is one of my favorite hobbies. One of my life goals is to be licensed as a dive master.
4) Answer this sentence, “When I am not at the office, you can find me….”
This time of year you can find me up North, free diving for abalone or roaming around the golf course.
5) If you could vacation anywhere in the world specifically to see the architecture, where would you go?
My ideal vacation is based on my fascination with the need for architecture, not the desire. In other words, I like exploring communities that have expanded and grown from natural materials, which is why I would love to visit some of the tribal communities in South America.
I recently had a chance to visit the San Blas islands, where you can see the concept of “building for necessity” first hand. The Guna Indians, who inhabit these small islands, build all of their structures from natural materials. When a hut becomes too small for a community, they migrate to another part of the island and construct a larger hut.
6) Fun fact that no one else knows about you?
I recently developed a new hobby – casting concrete. It all began with me taking two standard mixing bowls and using them to cast smaller concrete bowls. This ties into my passion for design with natural materials and constructing pieces by hand. The picture on this blog is one of my latest pieces.